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Mar 25, 2011

Thank you for paying our taxes!

We Brings Goods, Not Life
I was shocked but not surprised to read in a NYT article that GE is again paying no taxes this year! In fact, this stalwart old American company, having reaped $14.2 billion in world profits last year are owed a further $3.2 billion by us U.S. Citizens!  In justifying the situation company officials are quoted as saying it's necessity to compete globally, adding they are "responsible citizens". Where is the evidence of that?  Indeed GE recently gave the largest gift ever to NYC schools, which sounds good til one realizes that the recipients were the schools in the district of Rep. Charles Rangel, who as chair of the Ways and Means Committee had just delivered to GE a tax break worth billions. That's just a kickback in a pretty dress!

This suggests an interesting exercise: I wonder how GE compares with another famous American enterprise, the Mafia. They certainly both provide jobs in certain sectors and keep the economy buzzing. But GE fired 1/5 of its US workforce in 9 years. I bet the Mafia hasn't outsourced nearly that many jobs. Then again thank heavens GE outsourced their nuclear power plants because when they blow, the people killed will be mostly distant Japanese (who don't threaten our tax laws)!  Sure, both organizations kill people, but with the Mafia it's mostly rival gangsters– killed quickly with bullets– while GE kills indiscriminately, slowly and subtly.

As big "business" grows more efficient at what it does– generating profits– what is to distinguish legitimate business from organized crime?  Crime may not even pay as well as the legal thievery the top 1% of American earners have engineered for themselves, because it's, uh, "illegal". So is there any difference left?  Is this the best that capitalism can offer?
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.